Thoughts of & from my Mother-in-Law

A few weeks ago my Mother-in-Law, Tammy Sparkman, sent me a devotional she was wrote for a women's Bible study in her hometown of Odessa. I asked her if it would be OK to share with all of y'all. And you would love her reaction-- willing but reluctant. Reluctant not because she was ashamed of the message but because she never assumes that what she has to offer is anything special. She just wants others to hear Jesus in her, not hear her. 

So in honor of her birthday today (Happy Birthday Tammy!!!) I wanted to share her with you and let you get to hear her heart. And before I let you hear from her, I wanted to share a little bit about her. 

When it comes to Mother-in-Laws I really hit the jackpot. I don't just say that publicly, I mean it truly. Tammy is one of the sweetest people you have ever met. She's the kind of person that you want to be best friends with (and she would gladly be your friend). She is the least pretentious person you could know. She has survived so much in her life yet you'd never know and she'd never complain about it. She is humble not out of insecurity but out of a knowledge of who God is and who she is. She is deeply in love with Jesus (you can find her regularly pouring over God's Word and praying fervently for those she knows). She never gives up on people (even if you've given up on her or God). She is the most generous person I know (truly sees all they have as a gift from God and wants to bless others with it with no expectation of a return). 

Well those are just a few of the things I love about my Mother-in-Law. Now it's your turn to fall in love with her too as she shares about the greatest thing in her life...


Have you ever asked yourself these questions who am I? Why am I here or do I really have a purpose? 

For several years I struggled with answering these questions. Trying to be what I thought I should be or even worse trying to be what my friends wanted me to be.  Yet there was always an emptiness inside that was never satisfied. I just couldn’t measure up or after all the ‘fun’ I felt lonely and hopeless. 

In my loneliness, guilt and shame I turned to people, music and yes even musicals! 

In musicals I could put myself in “Cinderella’s shoes” and sing “in my own little corner  in my own little chair - I can be whatever I want to. Crying and feeling sorry for myself still left me empty and lonely in my comer! 

Then I would build myself up by Watching South Pacific and at the top of my lungs sing “I'm gonna Wash that man right out of my hair and send him on his way.” I sent him on his way alright but I was hopeless. I could go on and on because I truly spent hours watching musicals and dreaming. You get the picture... nothing I did on my own satisfied these feelings. I had to get over myself! 

I knew Jesus loved me but I didn’t know the extent of HIS love and I didn’t really know HIM. I don’t remember the exact moment or place but Proverbs spoke to my heart in such a way that it gave me peace that I can‘t explain. 

"Trust in the Lord With all your heart And lean not on your own understanding In all your way acknowledge Him And He will make your paths straight." Proverbs 3:5-6

As I began to meditate on this verse the Lord began to show me what life looks like through His eyes. He revealed to me in such a real way that HE IS THE GREAT I AM.  I am called to follow Him no matter the circumstances. I'm not always going to understand but He promises to be with me. 

In John 13 the word "knew" popped off the pages to me:

Jesus knew His time had come 
Jesus knew the Father had put all things under His power 
Jesus knew that He had come from God and was returning to God. 
Jesus knew who was going to betray Him. 

Jesus knew who He was. He knew His purpose.  
He didn’t live to please people. He didn’t live by how he felt.  
He lived to please His Father. Which lead to rejection by many and suffering on the cross so that you and I can have eternal life and freedom to live for Him if we know Him. 

In times when I'm full of joy and hope I thank Jesus and sing praises to Him when life seems unbearable and I go through struggles. I don’t turn to musicals anymore. Yes I Watch them but with different eyes  

Because I am in Christ and HE IS THE GREAT I AM...

When I am weak, He IS STRONG 
When I am hopeless,  HE IS HOPE 
When I am in turmoil, HE IS PEACE 
When I am unloving, HE IS LOVE 
When I am Selfish, HE IS GENEROUS 
When I am unkind, HE IS KIND 
When I am worried, HE IS TRUSTWORTHY 
When I am afraid, HE IS PROTECTIVE
When I am in need, HE IS THE PROVIDER 

Whatever I am HE is always more than enough  HE IS THE GREAT I AM.

Do you know who you are? Let Jesus be the Great I Am.